After experiencing one of the most challenging times of my life, I found myself on a plane back to San Francisco. I landed so close to home and yet so far because I had one more week of the program. So I left from the airport with our bus and ended up in the redwoods nearby Santa Cruz where I joined the rest of the Global Cohort for our week of RET. At RET, I had the chance to reconnect with people from the other countries and share stories with them about our experiences abroad. The one thing that made my time better was that I grew by learning something about myself and how I socialize with others. My goal for the year was to grow/mature, and that is something that doesn't have a deadline. There were times when I wanted to go home but I reminded myself that there was something that I would gain from being there, something that I hadn't already heard from a GCY staff member. I know to some it may sound absurd to have faith in something you can't see or when it will come but as Christian, I do this everyday. I prayed, asking God to give me the strength to fight through the boredom, the hunger, and how badly I missed my city. I almost ended up leaving after being completely fed up with my homestay, and told my Team Leader that I didn't want to be there anymore. I absolutely ignored my logic of enduring the year to grow but as an apparent message from God, I was convinced to stay by numerous people. So I stuck out the last month of being in-country and returned home better than ever. I never wanted to go to Senegal but I stayed, I had responsibilities at home that were more urgent than my year abroad but I stayed. As I said before, I would remind myself to stay because there was something I would gain from being there. I also said that it could come that moment or literally the last day of the program, and it did. On the last day on the bus back to SFO, everything came together and it was then that I realized I wasn't the same goofy, immature boy that most people saw at PDT but I had reached the next level: a man.